Some songs are written in bathrooms. As songwriters, we should be honest about that.
So anyway there I was, standing (too honest?) in my 7th floor corner apartment bathroom. It was the senior year of my college experience.
I loved writing in that apartment, because the high, wide window looked down on Los Angeles.
Every songwriter should have a good window; it keeps us far enough away to tend to our thoughts, but close enough to see life in action.
In 2014, I was high off the premieres of my classical music, full of new knowledge, and ready to test myself. For the next few years, I would throw myself at any genres and sub-genres I had not yet tackled, just to prove that I could.
"Onomatopoeia" was my Red Hot Chili Peppers-esque song. I still think they would crush it and hey, if they're listening, my bathroom is your bathroom.
To achieve RHCP status, I went lyrics first. Every RHCP song has lyrics that are thought-provoking, rhythmic more than melodic, and figurative more than literal. Lines like
Come to soothe another sayer
keep an active tone, referring to lovers as soothe-sayers obliquely, but in a way that's possible to figure out. And it remains targeted on the idea of sound, which "Onomatopoeia" is all about. The next line,
Lover-lover through your hair
provides "hair" as a rhyme to "sayer", which requires some creative delivery to pull off, and heightens the sense that I'm playing with the English language. That's the vibe.
Next, I went for the bass-line, because what RHCP song doesn't start with a riff-centric intro? I needed a component of the song that was interesting when played alone, but absolutely tight when the rest of it hits.
The bass goes:
dew dew dew
dew dew dewwwww....
dew dah dah
DUHduh duh duh
na nya na
and it shall remain a mystery.
Thanks for listening!